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Tea time? Looking out for something spicy and crunchy to munch on? Pick up a few pieces of Manapparai murukku and devour it along with hot ginger tea to enjoy a great evening. For those who want to know what murukku means – read further, let me introduce the famous all time favourite Manapparai murukku – a crunchy snack of Tamil Nadu.

Where is Manapparai?

Manapparai is a town in Tiruchy district situated in mainland Tamil Nadu. The town is in the central part of Tamil Nadu and it forms a base for cattle farming in the state. Manapparai is well known for its milk production, one of the highest in the state. But, more than that, Manapparai is almost a brand name for murukku. The town produces original murukku, a coiled munchy snack, which is famous worldwide.

Like the Tirunelveli halwa and Thoothukudi macroon, Manapparai murukku is unique and its taste cannot be duplicated anywhere else. There are small family traders and companies engaged in murukku production. Though the town was just like any other town in Tamil Nadu, this murukku business which started around 60 plus years ago made this place a buzzling hot spot.

What is Murukku?

Murukku is one of the traditional crunchy-munchy snacks of south India. It is made from rice flour, along with a few spices and water. There is a special mould for making murukku, which brings out the correct shape. Murukku comes in various sizes and colours ranging from creamy to bright yellow to orange. It tastes light spicy but extremely crunchy. The best quality murukku is that which should melt inside the mouth after taking a bite.

The rice flour mixed with water and spices is moulded into coils and deep fried in oil. Manapparai families do a brisk business in frying, packing, and marketing murukku in just a few hours. The recipe and business are inherited from one generation to another. Most of the murukku makers keep their business within a short circle to ensure originality, quality and taste. This may be a reason for their genuine production which does not fall for competition.

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What is the secret recipe?

Most of the murukku makers of Manapparai attribute its unique taste to the land’s water. Traditionally they have used raw rice to grind flour and groundnut oil for frying. Many human efforts are replaced by machines and this does have an effect and a change of taste. Though the original manapparai murukku of 1940’s cannot be replicated, current murukku is more than good when compared with any other snack from any where else in the state.

Another secret is – restricting the supply and increasing demand. Murukku packets from manapparai travel across the globe as loving gift packets for friends and relatives.

What are the spicy-crunchy tea time snacks of Tamil Nadu?

Apart from murukku, best tea time snacks are mixture, bonda, kaara sevu, bajji etc. All these are famous spicy snacks in Tamil Nadu. Every region has a signature snack for which that particilar place is famous for. Several ingredients such as rice flour, dried chilli powder for spice and ground water varies in quality from one region to another. Picking up the best makes a snack and its production town a great pair.

Apart from these snacks, sweets made from milk, jaggery etc keep the sales high during festival times and long weekends. Tamil families living abroad will always give bulk orders to take a piece of their native with them across the sky.

And, the story does not just end there. Murukku from Manapparai has received many acknowledgements and attestations from Tamil celebrities living worldwide. The name of this town remained unknown but murukku made it famous and behind this success lies a legacy which was found more than six decades ago.

Featured Photo by Thamizhpparithi Maari

Manapparai Murukku – A Crunchy Snack

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